Trust Slate to Take a Backlash Too Far

With regards to my previous Seinfeld post, I just stumbled across Ron Rosenbaum's ode to Rick Shapiro, a foul-mouthed comedian who was pretty funny as the vagrant brother of Mrs. Lucky Louie. Not saying this guy isn't funny, though one of the clips on his MySpace page wasn't all that great, but Rosenbaum clearly takes things too far here:

Shapiro's riffs are not only NSFW, they're NSFL—Not Safe For Life. They're unhealthy and often deeply disturbing. They're not about Seinfeld's quotidian "nothing," they're about a profound, nihilistic Nothingness. Hilarious, yes, exhilarating to hear someone say such uncompromisingly ugly truths, but it's a bitter brew: He makes the legendary Lenny Bruce sound as bland as Seinfeld the billionaire bore.
Say what you will about the current manifestation of Seinfeld, but Seinfeld the Show's depiction of "nothing" was nihilism dressed up as quotidian. It is true, as Rosenbaum says, that Jerry's Upper West Side seemed more like suburbia, but maybe that was precisely the point. Jerry and his friends were mean and selfish and they constantly let nagging, insignificant details become obsessions and ruin any chances at happiness they could have. Remember that George's cheapness got his fiance killed, which brought him great relief; Jerry got a Pakistani man deported; and in the finale they all end up in jail for laughing at--and videotaping--a fat guy getting mugged instead of helping him.

It is well and good to rip Seinfeld a new one for his Bee Movie and endless shilling, but quite another to retroactively dismiss his real accomplishments, and his show's lasting influence on comedy today (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a highly enjoyable Seinfeld rip-off. Charlie=George / Sweet Dee = Elaine)

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